Thursday 16 July 2015

Fogg - 'High Testament' (Album Review)

‘If you like your music with heavy riffs, fuzz pedals in overdrive and mixed with various styles, Fogg are worth checking out.’
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/06/2015
Label: Tee Pee Records

‘High Testament’ CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). Joy of Home
2). You are Welcome
3). The Garden
4). Seasons
5). Mountain
6). Hand of the Lord
7). Grass in Hand

Fogg is:

Ethan Lyons | Drums
Chase Jowell | Guitar
Brandon Hoffman | Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals


It has been a long time since a band has sent tingles down my spine on a first listen, but Fogg have done just that with their new record entitled ‘High Testament’, an absolutely monster of an album. It’s all here Proto-metal, Doom, Psych, Jazz, and Stoner Rock, surrounded by riffs Mr Iommi would be proud of. Fogg hail from Fort Worth, Texas and there must be something in the water there for an album to be produced to this standard. A benchmark for this genre, it is raw and beautiful!

‘Joy of Home’ gets us on the way. A nice relaxing acoustic intro opens things up accompanied by Brandon Hoffman’s understated chilled raw vocals, indeed this intro lulls you into a false sense of security as we are met with thunderous fuzz soaked riffs intent on pummel your senses. Before you know it, the track is coming to the end, not before a howling guitar solo arrives to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. Now that’s what I call a start to an album.

‘You Are Welcome’ arrives with riffs saying hello, the structure then changes to a sixties psych vibe mainly due to the echoing vocal harmonies (Wolfmother?). Don’t worry though, riffs are in evidence throughout the track and they blend in so well. ‘The Garden’ is completely different, an acoustic ditty with very raw vocals, giving this track a lovely charm. Innocently sang but sang with feeling and emotion, a flute solo arrives taking you to the bottom of your garden to sit with the enchanted creatures while the wind blows. ‘Seasons’ arrives with a deep throbbing bass intro and smashing riffs wake you up from your slumber in the garden of enchantment you previously found yourself in. The new season has arrived awash with cosmic fuzzed ambience, causing the leaves to fall and die. We are met with a great wailing guitar solo before the track returns to the throbbing bass line taking you to journey’s end.

‘Mountain’ is the track of the album for me! A bluesy intro sets things up to cries of “let’s get into something heavy” and boy does it ever. The rumbling guitar riffs work in unison with a powerful throbbing organ entwining together and producing one hell of a noise. You feel you are entering the void of death, where the grim reaper awaits you. This track is truly something special. ‘Hand of the Lord’ is a slow burner, beginning again with acoustic guitar and understated raw vocals, but the middle section brings you back to riff heaven, powerful, emotive, eerie and then back to a chilled ending. What more can you ask for?  Then finally we have ‘Grass in Mind’, more deep riffs and raw vocals driving the track through an eerie landscape of bliss. Lovely Jazz guitar loops arrive to take you to a different mind space but not for long, the riffs return leading to a little acoustic interlude to end this opus of awesomeness.

Fogg have produced something extraordinary with this album, it’s like a fine LSD soaked wine. It has everything, passion, great lyrics, magical song arrangements and fantastic musicianship.  What’s more Fogg are adept at switching the tempo of the record, to increase and decrease the tension at just the right moment and this is done to devastating effect. If you like your music with heavy riffs, fuzz pedals in overdrive and mixed with various styles, Fogg are worth checking out. Spin this record now and you’ll almost certainly buy the vinyl, I know I did. Wow! Now that does sound incredible.

These guys have totally graced my eardrums with ‘High Testament’!

Words by: Brian Mclean

‘High Testament’ is available here

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